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The missing repertoire

Filed under: — gavin @ 10 August 2006

There was a small flurry of activity last week when the report “Warm words: How are we telling the climate story and how can we tell it better?” was released by the IPPR (a UK based left-leaning think tank). Most of the attention was focussed on their attention-seeking description of the more breathless media depictions of climate change as ‘climate porn’. However, the report was actually more interesting than just that, but possibly in ways that the authors didn’t intend.

The basic point of the report was to present a textual analysis of the kinds of language (‘repertoires’) used in the media when discussing climate and to associate the different repertoire with the advocacy position of the users and the likely effectiveness of that language in swaying opinion. The report only examined the UK print media, but the classification system could certainly be used for the US, Canadian and Australian press as well, and potentially, more widely still.

The classifications will be familiar (in concept, if not in name) to anyone who has been following the climate story in the media. I paraphrase a little, but the basic outlines are split between the repertoires that accept the basic science:

  • Alarmism (‘It’s the end of the world’): Recent examples concern the apparently imminent death of the Amazon, the imminent 20ft rise in sea level, the impending collapse of the North Atlantic circulation etc.
  • Techno-optimism (‘we’ll work it out when we need to’): This can range from Patrick Michaels’ position (‘technology will make the whole issue moot’) to oil companies demonstrating their green bona-fides to hopeful calls for the innovative capacity of the population to come forward to deal with the issue.
  • Small actions (‘save the world by recycling and buying a hybrid’): This comes up repeatedly in the ‘what can you do’ sections at the end of special issues and documentaries.

and the various forms of denialism:

  • “It’ll be alright”-ism (strangely described as ‘Settlerdom’ in the report): Nothing to worry about, just the same old stuff ‘they’ are always pushing. The ‘common-sense’ man on the street attitude. Op-eds in the more tabloid papers mainly.
  • Comic nihilism: This is a predominantly British trait, but there are connections with, for instance, Jon Stewart. The examples seen in the report were fundamentally dismissive of the case for climate change, but I think this can go both ways. Satire can be quite a potent weapon whether directed at over-excited advocates, industry shills or self-important novelists.
  • Rhetorical scepticism (‘It’s a vast conspiracy’): Almost anything written by Sen. Inhofe or Melanie Phillips for instance.
  • Free market-ism (‘The economy must come first’): Slightly more respectable than the other denialists and is used by frequently in the US in relation to the Kyoto Protocol and lies at the heart of the Lomborg’s ‘Copenhagen Consensus‘.
  • Expert denialism (‘It’s the sun! or the urban heat island!’): This is the kind of stuff peddled by the think tanks (CEI, Marshall Institute etc.) and which occasionally makes it into the main stream press as second or third hand quotes in op-ed pieces. Mostly a web based phenonemon though.
  • Warming is good (‘Hooray for Global Warming‘): Some overlap with the expert denialists (as a back up strategy mainly), but heartily pushed by the (now defunct) Greening Earth Society and particularly by the Idso’s

In reading this list, I can find many examples of pieces that fall neatly into the boxes. But it strikes me that there is a huge missing category – and indeed one in which I think RealClimate might fall (along with some of the best reporting on the issue – Andy Revkin’s pieces for instance). That category is the straight ‘It’s serious (and interesting) but don’t panic’ repertoire. This is the language most often heard at scientific conferences and it surprises me that the IPPR authors didn’t find enough examples to give it a description all it’s own.

One reason why that is missing is probably because the focus of the authors was mainly on how discussions about climate change are used for advocacy purposes rather than simply informational ones. Thus straight science not used to advocate for any particular course of action gets ignored or mis-classified. For instance, a letter (third one down) from Tom Crowley complaining about some alarmist points in a piece by Lovelock is taken to be from a ‘warming is good’ advocate – certainly a classification Crowley (or most people reading his letter) would not agree with. This is, unfortunately, to be expected in a ‘scientized’ debate. Any criticism of a scientific argument used to support any particular action is taken to imply advocacy of the opposite action.

The conclusions of the report are directed towards the advocates rather than the scientists (the IPPR is a political institution after all). They suggest (I think correctly) that the denialist repertoires are having a decreasing influence and aren’t worth addressing head on – especially the wilder rhetorical stuff. We occasionally do tackle these issues here, because the points sometimes provide a useful lead-in to an interesting piece of science and can help prevent confusion among lay readers. But if we were political advocates we probably wouldn’t bother!

However, the IPPR’s more serious conclusions are that the ‘alarmist’ repertoire mostly breeds hopelessness or backlashes and that the range of ‘small actions’ being pushed as potential solutions are not matching the seriousness of the issue and hence lead to trivialisation of the problem among readers.

I think that we would concur that the more excited style of journalism (which is not universal by any means) doesn’t help foster understanding – but it can raise interest. And like the denialist pieces, it can serve as an entry point to a serious discussion (for instance on climate sensitivity in the wake of the ’11 C’ warming headlines a while back, or the Amazon drought recently). The increase of cynicism though probably outweighs the provocation to find out more.

When it comes to advocating solutions that match the degree of the problem, all of the repertoires are found lacking. That’s because reducing emissions is a difficult problem with myriad causes and there won’t be a simple straightforward fix. This is the hardest kind of problem to deal with in the media because it is inherently complicated and involves almost all sectors of society. At this point as well, the scientists (like us) who have lead the debate up to that point, generally step aside – since macro economic policy, international diplomacy and energy infrastructures are not their forte. (As an aside, the role for scientists doesn’t end once a problem has been identified – their contributions are required in order to assess the effectiveness of proposed policies – such as geo-engineering ideas, or balances between air pollution control and climate).

This lack of serious discussion about solutions may however be changing if these recent MIT Technology Review or Energy Journal (subscription) special issues are anything to go by, and as more people and institutions start to think about the problem. This was always going to be the hard part though.

120 Responses to “The missing repertoire”

  1. 101

    Heh heh heh. You guys need to move this forum over the the usenet!

    So, will the next topic of discussion here be the Greenland result (Jianli Chen et el.), or the Antarctic result (Monaghan et al.) or perhaps the oceanic result (Lyman et al.)?

  2. 102
    Chris Rijk says:

    Re: #92

    And, in the LA climate with its nearly grid locked road network baking in a heat-inversion, an electric powered vehicle would need a utility trailer loaded with backup batteries to keep the AC running full blast. No chance there.

    On what do you base that, I wonder? Driving the air-con is peanuts compared to driving a whole car via electric motor.

    The Tesla Roadster guys even suggest that if you wanted to, when parking the car in a hot location, you could leave the AC on the whole time until you come back. So that you don’t have to suffer driving in a hot car until the AC gets things down. A normal car couldn’t do that because the battery is massively massively less powerful.

  3. 103
    Pat N says:

    Eric(skeptic),

    Because our climate is changing so rapidly, the NWS has problems forecasting weather by their not taking climate change into account (especially winters in the Upper Midwest). Outlooks issued by NOAA in Oct of 2005 called for Dec 2005 – Feb 2006 to be near the 1971-2000 averages for the Upper Midwest. At a station called Leech Lake Federal Dam in northern Minnesota, the 1971-2000 average is 11.1 Deg F. In viewing the figure for Leech Lake Fed. Dam (link below) an increasing trend line is obvious for Dec-Feb temperature averages (1900 to recent). The Dec 2005 to Feb 2006 average temperature at Leech Lake Fed Dam came in at 16.1 Deg F (5.0 Deg F above the 1971-2000 average). The trend line is so obvious for northern Minnesota that I can predict right now that next winter (Dec 2006 to Feb 2007) in northern Minnesota will once again be above 1971-2000 temperature averages at NOAA NWS climate stations.

    1900-2006 Dec-Feb temperature plot for Leech Lake Fed Dam, MN is at:
    http://twincities.indymedia.org/newswire/display/28164/index.php

  4. 104
    Hank Roberts says:

    Good article here on how people think, or don’t:
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/64167124-263d-11db-afa1-0000779e2340.html

    “A closed mind about an open world”
    By James Boyle
    Published: August 7 2006 20:24

    EXCERPT:

    “Over the past 15 years, a group of scholars has finally persuaded economists to believe something non-economists find obvious: â��behavioural economicsâ�� shows that people do not act as economic theory predicts.

    “However, this is not a vindication of folk wisdom over the pointy-heads. The deviations from â��rational behaviourâ�� were not the wonderful cornucopia of humanist motivations you might imagine. There were patterns. We were risk-averse when it came to losses â�� likely to overestimate chances of loss and underestimate chances of gain, for example. We rely on heuristics to frame problems but cling to them even when they are contradicted by the facts. Some of these patterns are endearing; the supposedly â��irrationalâ�� concerns for equality that persist in all but Republicans and the economically trained, for example. But most were simply the mapping of cognitive bias. We can take advantage of those biases, as those who sell us expensive and irrational warranties on consumer goods do. Or we can correct for them, like a pilot who is trained to rely on his instruments rather than his faulty perceptions when flying in heavy cloud….”

  5. 105
    Chris Rijk says:

    With regards to urban sprawl, brought up earlier in this thread, I have a couple of ideas about that.

    In general, I see such things as a result of conflicts between short-term and long-term issues, and who pays for them. If you are a property developer, and have a project to build some brand new buildings on an area of unused land, then most will build just one type of building – ie either all houses, or all offices. It’s simpler to do, since you don’t need to manage two types of clients, two types of buildings and so on. It’s probably easier to get planning permissions as well. And, I suspect many smaller/medium sized building companies specialise in either residential or commercial, not both.

    But is it easier on the users/owners? Where I am, a lot of my daily shopping needs can be met by shops within a few minutes walk. But if you’re in the middle of a large residential estate and the nearest place to shop is a few miles away then you’re practically forced to own a car, and use it for basic shopping.

    Also, the more you separate residential areas from the commercial/office areas, the further people have to commute.

    The problems with congestion etc is not just too many people trying to get to work, but the average distance they need to travel. If you think about it, the further you need to travel, the longer you are on the roads (or public transport). This is just a guess, but I think 10m people needing to travel 10 miles a day to/from work would give similar road usage as 20m people doing 5 miles.

    So, if the average commute distance was halved, even if everything else is the same (like average mpg for the vehicles used), then that would make a big difference in energy usage. I’d also expect an 80-90% reduction in congestion – which on top of the reduced travel distance, would significantly reduce time taken to travel to/from work. It would also reduce the travel costs for all those people.

    Pollution would also be reduced. So would traffic accidents. A lot of people would now be close enough to walk as well. People would get to spend more time with their familes, and be happier and more productive.

    Of course, there’s no quick and easy way to achieve a 50% reduction in average commute distance. It would be something that’d take decades. But, if the transitional costs to individuals and businesses is small, it should be attractive to voters.

    So, how to do it? In the short term, one simple thing would be on hiring new workers – the company and new employee gets a benefit if they live particularly close, and a cost if they live particularly far apart – though the scheme would be revenue neutral from a government point of view. It would have to take into account people moving as they get the job. Such a scheme could then be extended to all existing employees on a yearly basis – so that employees get a benefit for working locally, and companies get a benefit for employing local people. That would probably lead to employers helping employees to move more closely (since it would benefit them). A fair system would also have to take into account people who regularly work from home. You could even give house sellers a bonus if they’re helping someone move closer to where they work.

    For the longer term, getting areas to be more of a mix of residential and commercial would be best.

    None of this even requires new technology. If combined with incentives to use small, efficient cars for the daily commute, it would lead to much lower energy costs for the daily commute.

    Some companies are even doing things along these lines now. For example, Sun Microsystems is using its own technology to make it much easier for employees to work from home, and also set up local “drop in” offices, and reduce the dependance on assigned desks in office space. Overall, they’re saving themselves a lot of money, and apparantly most employees are happier too (and employee turnover has reduced for those regularly working from home).

    As a general side note. Here in the UK, one side-effect on planning laws making it harder to build large new shops is that the main food retailers are buying small local stores. There’s two small Tesco shops near me – one of which took over my regular local store, and seems 2-3x busier than before. I haven’t noticed prices in the small local shops of Tescos being higher either.

  6. 106
    John L. McCormick says:

    RE# 102 Chris, I will yield on my comment regarding need for a utility trailer of backup batteries but there is obvious and known range limitations using AC in stop and go traffic in extreme heat.

    I also relied on some earlier DOE test results that, given technology improvements with battery-types and materials may, I admit, seem out of date.

    And the Tesla Roadster is a beauty of a car. Pricey? Yes. But, it would look great in my driveway.

  7. 107
    George A. Gonzalez says:

    re: #105

    Chris,
    Thank you for you thoughtful post. The difficulty is that urban sprawl in the U.S., in particular, is not the result of poorly conceived public policies. The sprawling of urban zones has been the explicit goal of U.S. policymakers beginning in the 1930s. This includes U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, where the U.S. has sought to ensure that sufficient oil flows onto the world market to allow U.S. urban sprawl to persist and expand.

    I would respectfully refer you to the below articles to see a thorough treatment of this argument. (My apologies to those who have seen me refer to these articles before).

    2006 August. “An Eco-Marxist Analysis of Oil Depletion via Urban Sprawl.” _Environmental Politics_ 15, no. 4: 515-31.

    2005 June. “Urban Sprawl, Global Warming, and the Limits of Ecological Modernization.” _Environmental Politics_ 14, no. 3: 344-62.

  8. 108
    Chris Rijk says:

    The difficulty is that urban sprawl in the U.S., in particular, is not the result of poorly conceived public policies. The sprawling of urban zones has been the explicit goal of U.S. policymakers beginning in the 1930s.

    Er, aren’t those two things the same George? (ie the “explicit goal” is a “poorly conceived public policy”)

    Anyway… for the US, I don’t expect this to change unless a president gets elected with a big mandate for pushing energy efficiency (among other policies) to help combat AGW. This sort of thing just needs to be “sold” right I feel – everyone wins (consumers, companies, employees, the country’s international competitiveness), except the oil companies and wealthy land-owners. To date, it’s barely being dicussed though – I thought of the suggestion in #105 all by myself before I found others mentioning it too. It helps solve some many difficult problems at once – I wish I knew of better ways to promote the idea.

    In Europe, I think the problem is more of unwillingness to change in general and that the parties driving change to AGW are mostly on the left, and economics and market forces are not being used *properly*. I should point out however that every European country is different – labour laws in Holland are very different to France, for example.

  9. 109
    Chris Rijk says:

    Re #106

    And the Tesla Roadster is a beauty of a car. Pricey? Yes. But, it would look great in my driveway.

    I think their business plan is a thing of beauty too… in a way. To see people like this gives me some real hope that large jumps in efficiency can be made.

    http://www.teslamotors.com/blog1/?p=8

    So, in short, the master plan is:
    1. Build sports car
    2. Use that money to build an affordable car
    3. Use that money to build an even more affordable car
    4. While doing above, also provide zero emission electric power generation options

    Don�t tell anyone.

    Basically, all profits from the 1st car are going into expanding their market reach (ie full US coverage, then other countries too), and developing 2nd and 3rd generation higher volume cars. They certainly don’t intend to stay small.

  10. 110
    Kevin Potvin says:

    I am a journalist and I was just introduced to this site today and after reading this whole thread, I want to make two comments and one suggestion from my point of view as part of the medium between experts, leaders, and the public.

    Leading journalism schools typically recieve corporate sponsorhips for chairs, which means this organism is as infected with the blight of economic interests as all others. The feigned objectivism (the so-called “he said-she-said” and “balanced” reporting mentioned above) is a form of creeping libertarianism favoured by corporate sponsors because no leadership is the best leadership when it comes to improving short term investor profits.

    Coupled with that process (that undermines all authorities, including yours here), is the fragmenting of both the audience and the producers. The journalism I specialize in is “shitty things assholes are doing,” and global warming produced by oil and car companies is one tenth of the environment problem, which is one-tenth of the buffet of catastrophic risks facing the planet, which is one-tenth of the shitty things file, and yet this web-site is one of about 1,000 on a subject that comprises one-tenth of one percent of what I specialize in, which itself is about one percent of what journalism in general covers. What am I at here? I think I am up to saying this web site addresses about 0.000001 percent of the issues that matter to the public. And, keep in mind that maybe one in ten members of the public bother with issues that matter to them, the other nine expending their time figuring out the implications of Brad’s baby with Jolie on Jen’s fragile psychie.

    So even if you found a way to get your point up front and centre with the public through all those brambles, that only sets you up for the swarm of journalism-school trained knats who will undermine your hard won authority no matter what you say, just because you are now an authority.

    But (and that concludes my comments, and this brings me to my suggestion), obviously sometimes things are succussfully carried out, some people are sometimes able to get their agenda through to the top and planted firmly enough to withstand the onslaught of attacks. But on the level we’re talking about here, there are very few examples: Apollo is one, but I think the Y2K scare is a better one. The whole world got involved in it and spent tens of billions of dollars on it. The fact it was all a sham should not detract, I think, from the example it set for broad international, intergovernmental, and business cooperation focused on a single problem.

    If anyone can figure out what were the key elements of that whole episode that turned that line of thought into a major globally focused effort, they would have a model for how to get emissions up to the same level.

  11. 111

    I would like the discussion to return to original issue- Gavin Schmidt’s very interesting comments on the IPPR report on messaging climate change.

    Here are some of my own observations on the report:

    The IPPR advocates a change in communications: targeting groups in terms of their own values, especially recognizing that many people are esteem driven; using the language of â??ordinary heroesâ??; and using metaphor to enable emotional engagement.

    I am less sure that a change in language will solve anything much. Whilst I do not doubt the power of language to frame a debate, I believe that people adopt arguments and language according to their existing world view. Nihilistic or evasive language is therefore a reflection of wider currents of despair, denial, or optimism.

    The real issue is the profound disconnection between what we know and what we do. Nihilism and the refutation of the science seek to resolve the disconection by reducing the scale of the problem. The â??advocacy of small changesâ?? seeks to resolve it by reducing the scale of the solutions. Alarmist strategies fail because they actually increase the dissonance by increasing our perception of the problem.

    What we need is personal and collective action that is in proportion to the scale of the problem. When looking for solutions, the danger with reframing the language we use is that we are still reinforcing the intellectual side of the balance â?? the â??what we knowâ??. As motivational research shows time and again, it is often more effective to get people doing the right thing before giving them the language to describe why they should do it.

    Despite this, we continue to look to language as the best means to energise and motivate change- hoping that it we try hard enough can find a formulation that works. The UK Department for Environment has recently awarded £2 million to community organisations to communicate climate change. It was adamant that funding as only available for â??attitudinal changeâ?? not â??behavioural changeâ??- in other words, awardees could use language to persuade people of the scale of the problem but were forbidden to lead them into any substantive personal action (other than to talk about it some more).

    We do not need elaborately crafted rhetoric to get people making the necessary changes- we can start to create change through an effective combination of sticks and carrots. If the vast cost of the Iraq War (£6 billion in the UK to date) had been put into domestic energy efficiency and microgeneration there would building activity on every street, and every household could feel that they are part of huge and sweeping changes. They would then be far better prepared to hear about the problem.

    We are depending on language because there is no real political will on this issue and we therefore need to persuade everyone to make their own contribution- and letâ??s face it, how far would any war get if it had to be funded by public subscription?

    [These Comments are excepted from a posting on a blog, http://www.climatedenial.org, which examines the causes and evidence of our denial of climate change]

  12. 112
    Chuck Booth says:

    RE# 110 “The whole world got involved in it [Y2K scare] and spent tens of billions of dollars on it. The fact it was all a sham should not detract, I think, from the example it set for broad international, intergovernmental, and business cooperation focused on a single problem.”

    I don’t know what the social scientists say about that whole affair, but one could argue that Y2K was not the disaster it was predicted to be precisely because people were worried and took the necessary precautions to avoid the problems. Maybe there is a lesson here regarding public concern, or apathy, about global warming?

  13. 113
    George A. Gonzalez says:

    The United States’s urban zones are the most sprawled in the world. During the 1930s, urban sprawl was seized upon by political and economic elites to revive U.S. capitalism from the Great Depression. Urban sprawl has the economic benefits of increasing demand for automobiles, and other consumer durables (to fill large homes on the urban periphery). By the 1920s the U.S. industrial base was particularly geared toward the production of automobiles, as well as other consumer durables (e.g., home appliances). (Consumer durables are items expected to last at least 3 years.) Today, U.S. consumption of consumer durables, and by implication urban sprawl, play key roles in maintaining global economic stability. The federal government could pursue its pro-urban sprawl policies because throughout the first half of the 20th century the U.S. was the world’s leading producer of petroleum. By the early 1970s it became evident that the center of global oil production shifted to the Persian Gulf region â?? especially Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and Kuwait. Since this time U.S. foreign policy has been geared to ensure that sufficient amounts of petroleum enter the global market to allow U.S. urban sprawl to persist and expand.

  14. 114

    Re #95 and “we are, after all, ancestors of monkeys.”

    Well, no. We’re descendants of monkeys. Not quite the same thing.

    -BPL

  15. 115
    Eachran says:

    A report in today’s Guardian for interest.

    You all might also note that in the same edition of the journal, 30% of UK students believe in Creationism – whatever that might mean.

    Just thought I would cheer you all up before you start the day. Sorry.

    Forecast puts Earth’s future under a cloud
    · 3C increase would bring fires, floods and famine
    · Climate prediction most comprehensive so far

    Alok Jha, science correspondent
    Tuesday August 15, 2006

    Guardian

    More than half of the world’s major forests will be lost if global temperatures rise by an average of 3C or more by the end of the century, it was claimed yesterday. The prediction comes from the most comprehensive analysis yet of the potential effects of human-made global warming.
    Extreme floods, forest fires and droughts will also become more common over the next 200 years as global temperatures rise owing to climate change, according to Marko Scholze of Bristol University. Dr Scholze took 52 simulations of the world’s climate over the next century, based on 16 different climate models, grouping the results according to varying amounts of global warming they predicted by 2100: less than 2C on average, 2C-3C and more than 3C. He then used the simulations to work out how the world’s plants would be affected over the next few hundred years. The results were published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    Alan O’Neill, science director for the National Centre for Earth Observation, said: “Some work in this area has been done before looking at the meteorological forecasts for climate change and feeding those into vegetation models … this is a much more comprehensive study.”

    He added that Dr Scholze’s results would give climate scientists the most accurate scientific projection yet of the future effects of global warming.

    Dr Scholze said the effects of a 2C category were inevitable. This is the temperature rise that will happen, on average, even if the world immediately stopped emitting greenhouse gases. This scenario predicts that Europe, Asia, Canada, central America and Amazonia could lose up to 30% of its forests.

    A rise of 2C-3C will mean less fresh water available in parts of west Africa, central America, southern Europe and the eastern US, raising the probability of drought in these areas. In contrast, the tropical parts of Africa and South America will be at greater risk of flooding as trees are lost. Dr Scholze says a global temperature rise of more than 3C will mean even less fresh water. Loss of forest in Amazonia and Europe, Asia, Canada and central America could reach 60%.

    A 3C warming could also present a yet more dangerous scenario where the temperatures induce plants to become net producers of carbon dioxide. “As temperatures go up, plants like it better and they start to grow more vigorously and start to take up more carbon dioxide from the air,” Dr O’Neill said. “But there comes a point where the take-up is saturated for a given vegetation cover, then the ecosystem starts to respire more than it’s taking up.”

    Dr Scholze’s work shows that this so-called “tipping point” could arrive by the middle of this century. His scenarios echo research from the UK’s Hadley Centre, a world leader in climate change modelling. In a report published last year called Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change, scientists at the centre predicted that a 3C rise in average temperatures would cause a worldwide drop in cereal crops of between 20m and 400m tonnes, put 400 million more people at risk of hunger, and put up to 3 billion people at risk of flooding and without access to fresh water supplies.

    In May, David King, the government’s chief scientific adviser, warned that the world’s temperature would rise by 3C, causing catastrophic damage around the world, unless governments took urgent action to reduce carbon emissions.

    Dr Scholze said his work could help to define the concept of dangerous climate change for policymakers. “Dangerous is very objective. We tried to define a dangerous level and see what the risks are,” he said. In his definition, climate change becomes dangerous when an event – such as extreme flooding or heatwaves – that only happened once every 100 years becomes one that happens every 10 years.

    He added that a rise of 3C was not inevitable. “We can’t just do what we do at the moment, what we call business as usual. We have a few decades – we have to do something before 2040.”

    Burning issue

    At the rate we are burning fossil fuels, global temperatures could easily increase by more than the 3C rise that Marko Scholze’s research warns could increase flooding, forest fires and droughts. A 2001 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said an increase of between 1.4 and 5.8C by 2100 would be caused if current carbon emissions continue.

    Global sea levels would rise by between 0.09 and 0.88 metres as a result. Scientists at the UK Climate Impacts Programme predict that a 3C rise or above would reduce rain on the south coast to half of current levels, by more than 40% across the rest of England and 30% in Scotland.

    Sea levels could be 70cm higher in the south and there would be a 17-fold increase in flooding on the east coast. London could face a £25bn clean-up bill after a storm surge that would overwhelm the Thames barrier.

    Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006

  16. 116
    John L. McCormick says:

    RE: # 114

    Barton, an apology for my foolish mistake. My ancestors would be ashamed.

  17. 117
    Chuck Booth says:

    Re 116: I think your children, and grandchildren, would be quite upset, too.

  18. 118
    Susan Kraemer says:

    quoting the Guardian artical posted by Eachran: “and put up to 3 billion people at risk of flooding and without access to fresh water supplies” quoting from the middle…. Shouldn’t this be the screaming headline, ie:

    3 Billion Will Lack Fresh Water because of Climate Change, Scientists Predict.

    We laymen need to have the bottom line clear and simple to understand, ie: half of us will die.

  19. 119
    Stephen Berg says:

    Interesting piece here:

    “Information Cleansing, Canadian Style

    Bill Berkowitz*

    OAKLAND, California, Aug 16 (IPS) – If you’re a teacher, student, journalist or just a plain concerned citizen interested in finding well-researched documentation about climate change, you can no longer depend on the Canadian government to supply that information.

    (Continued…)”

    http://ipsnews.net/print.asp?idnews=34363

    (Previously cited by DeSmogBlog)

  20. 120
    Hank Roberts says:

    More fallout from coal-burning power plants:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2006/2005GL025595.shtml
    Abstract

    With climate change rapidly affecting northern forests and wetlands, mercury reserves once protected in cold, wet soils are being exposed to burning, likely triggering large releases of mercury to the atmosphere. … Estimates of circumboreal mercury emissions from this study are 15-fold greater than estimates that do not account for mercury stored in peat soils. Ongoing and projected increases in boreal wildfire activity due to climate change will increase atmospheric mercury emissions, contributing to the anthropogenic alteration of the global mercury cycle and exacerbating mercury toxicities for northern food chains.
    …. published 19 August 2006